Ten days ago, conservative columnist George Will took a cool hard look at the two candidates and came to the conclusion that what he perceived Barack Obama lacked could be corrected, but that what he perceived John McCain possessed could not be:
It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected . . . by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?
There seems to be a growing chorus among the conservative chatting class that Obama’s temperament, that is, his cool and unflappable style when he is under pressure, trumps McCain’s experience.
Today’s Washington Post contains a piece that Charles Krauthammer wrote that compares the presidential candidates to one another and finds McCain coming up short:
(McCain’s) frenetic improvisation has perversely (for him) framed (Obama) favorably as calm, steady and cool.
In the primaries, part of the reason Obama didn’t excite me was that I found him sort of boring, but given that after eight years of George Bush’s inept management, the chickens are coming home to roost, and to mix metaphors, the bottom is falling out of the barrel, I am finding reassuring Obama’s thoughtful, measured, and assured approach to problems. Krauthammer notes, “Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously said of Franklin Roosevelt that he had a ‘second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament.'” He then goes on to raise obligatory right wing objections against Obama but concludes:
(Obama’s) got both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament. That will likely be enough to make him president.
A favorable comparison with Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Obama has and will suffer more odious detractions than this one.
When I listen to the conservative chatting class talk about Obama’s strengths, I surmise that it just must gall them that this guy is the nominee of our party. Whether or not Will or Krauthammer votes for Obama, they certainly acknowledge that he is the man better suited to the hour.